This post was written by Juliane Okot Bitek, storyteller and author of upcoming book “The Dry Season”. “The Dry Season” is a non-fiction book based on the experience of three women who were kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army, a guerrilla group that terrorized northern Uganda, Sudan, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1987. All photos by Lara Rosenoff.
The pull to return and belong; to change and yet remain the authentic self, is what most distinguishes us, the people of the diaspora, from those who refer to themselves as native born. In that tension is the quality that we of the diaspora have an uncanny recognition for; within ourselves and others who struggle with it. It is also a place of empowerment and agency, where we can claim both sides of the divide while maintaining a Janus perspective. For me, as one who holds the mirror and is the image in the mirror, this is the place from which I recognize the women survivors of the Lord’s Resistance Army. These women, all kidnapped as girls and trained as rebel fighters become adults, all the while maintaining what little childhood memory they have. They are my sisters, cousins, daughters, friends, neighbours — these are my kinfolk, the women from my homeland. They are me and I am them.